Documentation:Podcasting Basics/Elearning

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What is it?

Podcasts are audio or video files that anybody can listen to online or download onto their portable media player. They are mostly associated with episodic content of a regularly programmed series, such as a radio show. With the decreasing cost of recording devices and release of easy to use media editing tools, producing podcasts is easier than ever!

A podcast can cover a variety of topics, from the archives of a weekly radio program to foreign language guides. Many universities create podcasts of prominent guest speakers, while a class here at UBC uses them as assignments to hone students' storytelling skills. UBC students also create podcasts and audio files to share student opinion and experience via interview.

Here are some examples of podcast directories:

Uses and Benefits

  • Archive Class Lectures

You can create archives of class lectures for students who missed a class, want to review what you discussed with them, or study during their commute

  • Digital Storytelling

Students can be given assignments that help them explore and share stories about local issues.

  • Literary Readings

Many plays and poems are better understood when read out loud. Dramatic readings help convey expressions and meaning.

  • Language Learning

Help students learn a new language by letting them hear and practice proper pronunciations.

  • Audio Instructions

Easily explain assignments and solutions by creating short "microlectures"

  • Guest Speakers

Share lectures from guest speakers who can give personal and in-depth insight into the latest research and issues.

  • Interviews

Students can hone their interview skills while talking with other students or professors about a wide range of topics.


Podcasts can be produced and used in a variety of ways. Take time to look through the examples below and look into the possibilites on how they can be applied in academic settings.

Podcasts at UBC

A podcast produced by the External Programs and Learning Technologies (EPLT) office at the Faculty of Education. Listen to interviews of EPLT instructors, discussions of current trends in learning technologies, and what's happening in EPLT.

A course that supports students in their development as communicators of topics on agriculture and sustainability. Learn more about the project and listen to some student podcasts.

The Department of Theatre and Film at the Faculty of Arts archived talks from prominent personalities such as actress Kim Cattrall and playwright Robert Lepage.

The Therapeutics Initiative (TI) podcast is a biweekly presentation where practitioners can get a healthy dose of evidence based drug therapy information. TI is an independent organization established by the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics

Similarly, UBC's student-run radio station, CiTR 101.9 FM makes their shows available for download through podcasts.

Popular Podcasts

The CBC archives many of its shows from their network of stations.

National Public Radio (NPR) releases their programming online, available for everybody to download.

MIT has permanently made many of their courses' content freely available for anybody to use.

Get Started

We will be focusing on audio podcasts because they are easier to make than video podcasts. You only need two things to start recording: a microphone and audio recording software. Once you have both, you can start recording!

If you'd like to include visuals with your presentation, you can go to Screen Capture Basics


There are a number of free applications you can use to record audio. The following software either comes pre-installed on your operating system, while others are free downloads:



Cross-Platform (Windows/Mac)


Most computers have built-in microphones that you can use to record audio. In order to check, please do the following:

Look for either one of these symbols on your computer to find the microphone


  • Go to Control Panel and click Sound
  • Once a new window opens, go to the Recording Tab.
  • By default, you will see the name of the device and sound level meter. If you make any sound near the computer and the bars go up, it means that it is working.
  • If it says No audio devices are installed then you will have to get an external microphone.
  • In some cases, the device might be disabled. Right-click within the window and choose Show Disabled Devices.
  • A list of devices will appear and enable the one you want to use.


  • Open System Preferences and click Sound
  • Click on the Input tab.
  • You will see a list of devices that you can use and choose the one you want.
  • If it is empty then you will need to get an external microphone.


When you're done recording, you can publish your podcasts on:

Resources courses

  • Up and Running with Audacity
    Audacity of a free, open-source audio recording and editing program available on Macs, Windows, and Linux. In this course, you learn how to start recording, mixing, and editing your own podcasts using Audacity.
  • Garageband Essential Training
    Garageband is audio recording and editing software available on Macs and iOS devices. In this course, you will focus on the basic functions and features of Garageband to create your own podcasts.

How tos

Pre-production resources


Production resources

Open educational resources

Post-production resources



Publishing your content

When you've finished recording, editing and exporting your content to an acceptable file format, you'll need to publish it so that you can embed it where you like. You can publish your content on:

  • Your own website.
  • UBC's Kaltura platform
  • UBC's YouTube Channel: using the upload form
  • Your own YouTube Channel: YouTube Help
  • Soundcloud for audio files.
  • iTunes for UBC (contact your instructional support unit or UBC Public Affairs for assistance).
  • another free content hosting service.
Embedding your content

Once your content is hosted (on YouTube or Kaltura) you can embed it in a Connect course, WordPress environment or on a wiki page. See how-tos below.


The following links are from Copyright at UBC:

  • Image citation guide: this page gives a broad overview of how images should be cited, with specific examples for Creative Commons images, online image databases, generic websites, and licensed image databases.
  • Suggested image sources: this page provides a large number of sources for images, with their associated licenses, you might be able to use in your media project, from Creative Commons to UBC-licensed resources.
  • Public domain resources: this page provides an overview of what public domain is, how material in the public domain can be used, and much more, including quick tips to check if something is or is not considered public domain in Canada, as well as links to public domain sources.
  • Creative Commons guide: this page provides all the information you could ever need on Creative Commons, from different licenses, types of media, and releasing your own work under a license.
  • Why should I care about copyright?: this student-centered guide, put together by the UBC Learning Commons team, answers questions on the subject of copyright and addresses a number of myths and misconceptions surrounding copyright. Are you new to copyright? Start here.


Creating media

Design for learning

Incorporating media in the classroom






  • McGarr, O. (2009). A review of podcasting in higher education: Its influence on the traditional lecture. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 25, 309-321. Ubc-elink.png
This paper examines a possible influence of podcasting on the traditional lecture in higher education. The review explores three key questions: What are the educational uses of podcasting in teaching and learning in higher education? Can podcasting facilitate more flexible and mobile learning? In what ways will podcasting influence the traditional lecture? These questions are discussed in the final section of the paper with reference to future policies and practices.
Reviews how podcasting is currently used in higher education: How it is used in course lectures, pre-class listening materials, and coursework feedback. Includes top tips for podcasters.


  • Find a quiet room with minimal ambient noise for recording sessions.
  • Audio quality is much better when recording with external microphones.
  • Plan your podcasts into segments to minimize errors and easier editing.
  • Although a script is not required it is hugely beneficial. Alternatively, you can have a general outline of your podcast to keep yourself on track.
  • Many people find 3 - 5 minute podcasts are the most effective.

Five questions to ask yourself before getting started

  • What is my purpose, why am I making this podcast?
  • Who is it for?
  • Is the recording quality important or is the purpose to share an idea or concept?
  • Do I have necessary permissions and copyright in place?
  • Do I have all of the resources I need, or know where to find them?